Located in the Shasta Cascade area of Northern California, McCloud sees many visitors. Visitors use McCloud as a base to engage in nationally-recognized trout fishing in the nearby McCloud, Sacramento and Klamath Rivers, or come to see and climb Mount Shasta, Castle Crags or the Trinity Alps . Visitors also engage in nearby skiing (both alpine and cross-country), or bike or hike to the waterfalls, streams and lakes in the area, including nearby Falls of the McCloud River, Burney Falls, Mossbrae Falls, Lake Siskiyou, Castle Lake and Shasta Lake.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.5 km²), of which, 2.4 square miles (6.3 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (2.00%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,343 people, 581 households, and 393 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 549.4 people per square mile (212.5/km²). There were 702 housing units at an average density of 287.2/sq mi (111.1/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 90.02% White, 1.94% African American, 1.86% Native American, 1.19% Asian, 0.45% Pacific Islander, 1.04% from other races, and 3.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.73% of the population.
There were 581 households out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.7% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.81.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 27.3% from 45 to 64, and 21.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $29,500, and the median income for a family was $35,882. Males had a median income of $34,792 versus $19,545 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $15,974. About 14.5% of families and 18.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.3% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature McCloud is located in the 4th Senate District, represented by Republican Sam Aanestad, and in the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa. Federally, McCloud is located in California's 2nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +13 and is represented by Republican Wally Herger.
In 2006 Nestle began a negotiations process with the town of McCloud, CA to build one of the nation's largest bottled water plants and extract water from the springs of Mt. Shasta. The contract process has been protested by local groups like www.protectourwaters.org and www.californiatrout.org who claim that Nestle neglected to study the impact on the region's ground water and have grossly overstated the potential economic benefits of the proposed plant. On May 13, 2008 AP Press reported that Nestle announced plans to reduce the size of the proposed McCloud Bottled Water plant to 350,000 sq ft (33,000 m2). from the originally-planned 1,000,000 sq ft (93,000 m2). proposal. Nestle also agreed to monitor the impact of the plant on the local watershed for two years.
Origin of place name Ross McCloud